The Borrower of the Night by Elizabeth Peters
Vicky Bliss. The name sounds like a Vegas showgirl, and she has the body to match, but Miss, no, Dr. Bliss, has a lot more going on than the ability to make most every man’s jaw drop when she enters a room. Vicky is brilliant, brave, and extremely self-assured. She’s also a woman on a mission to unravel a centuries-old mystery to find the final resting place of a jewel-adorned sculpture lost during Europe’s religious wars.
Written in the early 1970s, the competitive, international sleuthing being done in The Borrower of the Night is without benefit of cell phones or the Internet or GPS or computers of any sort which almost casts it as a historical mystery for modern readers. Vicky and her academic rival/romantic interest must race each other and other contenders to find what secrets the medieval German castle holds. Glimpses of ghosts, murderous betrayals and death traps lie before them. Is the greedy, old countess at the core of the rotting castle’s mystery or could her heartbreakingly lovely niece not be as innocent and delicate as she appears?
The late Elizabeth Peters, well-known for her Amelia Peabody Egyptian mysteries and who also wrote as Barbara Michaels, launched this more modern series based around historical art mysteries with The Borrower of the Night and created a drily witty character in blonde, brainy Vicky Bliss whose romantic, learned and dangerous adventures continue in Street of the Five Moons, Silhouette in Scarlet, Trojan Gold, Night Train to Memphis, and The Laughter of Dead Kings. The Borrower of the Night is available as a downloadable audiobook, an eBook, an audio CD, and as a paperback.